Sand Tray Therapy Final Exam Project
(Sand Tray Therapy Class Student)
Sand Tray Therapy Final Exam Project
Sand Tray Therapy Theory
Teens and adolescents are unable to express their emotional state when they have experience anxiety, stress, neglect, or abuse. The element of a sand tray gives the individual a sense of comfort and security to create their own special world. Individuals can be creative through independent play and the therapist will be able to see behavior cues from their clients. Sand Tray therapy is very useful in the treatment of teens and adolescents who are faced with different problems that are unsolved. The theory that I will introduced in Sand Tray is called the Relaxation theory. This method will serve as a valuable and powerful opening for teens and adolescents who have distressful experiences. The Relaxation theory is seen as play of dissolving the self-consciousness built up from weariness due to tasks that are relatively new to the individual. Relaxation theory (Lazarus 1883, in Dockett and Fleer 1999) play restores energy that is expended in work. Consequently, play is found more in childhood experience. Even though, play can also help adults in expressing themselves through Sand Tray therapy. Play replenishes energy and unidentified cognitive activities of the individual and reflects embedded habits. This technique will help relax the client in a setting of Sand Tray therapy to provide the safety that he or she will need to move forward to healing.
Before understanding this technique it is important to know the benefits and the purpose of it. The idea of this technique is more or less a spiritual as well as non-spiritual way to control the internal disturbance of the body and mind of an individual. Relaxation techniques are designed to control the stressful and unstable mind as to heal the body. This technique is also used to reduce “generalized anxiety disorders, panic attacks and agoraphobia, depression, irritability, muscle tension, headaches, fatigue, breath- holding, hyperventilation, shallow breathing, and cold hands and feet” (Davis, 1995). Relaxation is one technique for teens and adolescents for one common purpose to benefit the mind and body with peace, strength, and calmness. Relaxation techniques are geared towards helping clients to manage their anxiety and stress level. Deep breathing can be utilized in variety of ways; however, this technique can help anyone relax. It is universal and can resolve conflicts so that the chance of a peaceful effect increases. Professional counselors commonly used this technique and believe that it is very valuable to the clients.
Sand Tray therapy can be utilized through many different ways when it comes to relaxation techniques. One way is making a Zen Garden sand tray. The artistic significance in the Zen garden design is to bring the key elements of relaxation all together. The purpose of the landscape is to filter the essence of an authentic landscape of peace. It conveys an expression of a genuine landscape in a miniature size. The idea of a Zen garden is the sense of beauty and peace. Zen garden is an open space with rocks of various sizes, raked into wavy lines of sand with beautiful green crisped grass. Another way to help relax a client mind through sand tray therapy is by taking deep breaths. This skill is beneficial to anyone who wants to relax. Deep breathing technique is straightforward and any person can learn it. The person takes deep breaths, feeling their stomach rising. The client repeats this over and over until he or she feels at ease. After repeating this exercise four times in a row, one will feel relax. Then the person can build their world using the sand tray. Deep breathing helps to smooth the progress of relaxation and calm concentrated emotional states. Low breathing leads to intensifying anxiety and stress. Relaxation theory in sand tray, is an excellent way to get teens and adolescents in a relax state of mind when building their sand tray. Relaxation techniques are highly recommended for professional counselors to use in which it helps the client to become comfortable. Learning this technique can help the clients discover how to lower their anxiety during sand tray therapy.
Writing in the Sand
This activity is a way for individuals to learn how to manage their anxiety and stress level by writing in the sand. The client will learn how to get comfortable with the sand, learning how to relax with the sand, and grasping the first creation of their world. The client will write how they feel in the sand tray. This activity can be use for a group, individual, or target population.
Sand Sand Tray Miniatures
Time Frame: 30 minutes
1.Individually students will write their personal feeling word or words in the sand.
2.The words will show a reflection of how they feel at that time.
3.Once the individual is comfortable with the sand tray he or she will begin using miniatures in their world.
Each word will be identified by the individual and he or she will be allowed to explain what the word stands for. The client may also like for the word or words to be displayed in the sand tray for a couple of weeks and from time to time they will make comments about things they should have included in their sand tray.
This activity is a way for individuals to learn how to manage their anxiety and stress level by the “I-Message.” Students will learn how to get comfortable with the sand, learning how to relax with the sand, and expressing their feelings by sharing how he or she feels. This will help the individual feel more relax in articulating how they feel at the moment. The client will take a deep breath at the beginning of the session. Then he or she will learn tools of dealing with anxiety. This activity can be use for a group, individual, or target population.
Sand Sand Tray Miniatures “I-Message” Sheet Markers
Time Frame: 30 minutes
1.The individual will create their world with miniatures.
2.The individual will express how he or she feels by taking deep breathes.
3.Once the individual has finish creating their word, he or she will use the “I-Message” such as: I feel _____________________________(be specific) When you_______________________(give details of the behavior or circumstances) Because_____________________(why)
4.This will make the client feel at ease once they get their feeling out into the sand tray.
5.The individual can write down their feeling on the “I-Message “sheet and place it into the sand tray.
The “I-Message” feeling word will be identified by the individual and he or she will be allowed to explain what the word stands to them. The client may also like for the word or words to be displayed in the sand tray for a week and from time to time they will make comments about things they should have included in their sand tray. This activity can be use for individuals who are at the beginner's stage toward anger management.
My Relaxation Vacation
This activity is a way for individuals to learn how to manage their anxiety and stress level by creating their own relaxation vacation in the sand. The client will learn how to get comfortable with the sand, learning how to relax with the sand, and looking at their creative relaxation vacation that he or she created. The client will write how they feel in telling three important things about themselves, sharing a memory of their favorite vacation, and what they like to do for fun? This activity can be use for a group, individual, or target population.
Sand Construction paper Bright Markers
Time Frame: 30 minutes
1.The individual will write down these facts about themselves: Tell me three important things about you, share a memory of your favorite vacation, and what do you like to do for fun?
2.After the individual finish writing this down he or she will place this into the sand tray and match a miniature that he or she thinks relate to each important relaxation memory.
Each miniature will be identified by its owner and he or she will be allowed to explain what the symbols stand for. The client may also like for the miniatures and words to be place in a sandwich bag so that he or she can look back on a time when they felt in relax.
Davis, M., Eshelman, E., McKay, M. (1982). The relaxation and stress reduction workbook. 2nd
edition. New Harbringer Publications.
Docketts, S., & Fleer, M. (1999). Play and pedagogy in early childhood. Marrickville, NSW,
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*If you ignore the disclaimer above are using these techniques on yourself and you feel any discomfort or upset it is highly suggested that you seek out a licensed mental health professional immediately.
"Beyond Art Therapy" is the concept from Dr. Stangline that combines all creative fields in therapy. It is not the traditional "art therapy" but goes beyond to include sand tray therapy, play therapy, mindfulness, meditation, color therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and a vast majority of other therapies.
For any other type of mental health emergency call your local 911 / Police Number immediately.
Dr. Stangline does not offer advice / suggestions to anyone who is not a professional mental health provider, or a student who is studying this field and has questions about mental health programs of study.